Christmas is for family traditions.

 



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It wouldn’t be Christmas without a massive cooking extravaganza and that’s just what it was this holiday season. I was able to have time time off from teaching to just work on tamales and pozole and hang out with my family and enjoy every minute of my time with them. I truly cherish these memories with all my loved ones and the time I was able to spend with my nieces as they enjoyed our holiday traditions. It’s completely amazing. Holidays can be a bustling time of the year, but I truly stayed present to the fun, giving, loving, community-inspired essence of the holidays that I absolutely love so much.

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I have been making tamales every year since 2008. It’s a nice way for me to work on some of the bits and pieces of my recipes and come out with a really solid tamale that my family and friends love. This year I got a beautiful new mixer from Brandon, which helped tremendously because my old one was completely worn out.  My mom had a chance to put some together herself this year and I can say that I’m pretty quick when it comes to assembly. The stocks, braising meat, making the salsa, rehydrating chiles, roasting chiles and tomatillos and everything else that goes into tamales is a labor of love. So when you taste a really good tamale, remember that it probably wasn’t fast food and take some time to truly enjoy it.

 

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We went to visit my great-aunts and great-uncles at my grandma’s childhood home. Of course, I couldn’t go there empty handed, so this year I brought them a pot of my pozole. I have to admit, the pozole was rather delicious this year, with just the right amount of spice. pozole is another recipe that is a labor of patience and practice. But soup is a soul food and it truly is a nourishing dish. There is nothing like a hot bowl of pozole with all the right toppings on Christmas morning.

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I hope whatever traditions you and your family and friends have, they are something to keep passing down to the people you love and sharing the things that make you happy, grateful and inspired. I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and happy New Year! Stay tuned for my Japanese New Year annual Oshogatsu post of osechi ryori.

 

Cheers,

 

Unrivaledkitch

 

Santa Barbara

So much for all things October, it’s already over?!?! Can you believe it? I really can’t. Well, I hope everyone had a delicious and sinfully sweet holiday over the whole weekend. Mine was spent with my family, including my little niece, and unfortunately, a horrible headache on Monday evening. But I’m back in action and ready for the rest of the week. I wanted to recap a couple of things that seem to have escaped me during this last month. I took a beautiful trip to Santa Barbara, filled with gorgeous elements of fall and fun, to see my best friend from high school, Michelle. I catered Michelle’s going away party here, when she was accepted to grad school at University of California at Santa Barbara, and I felt that it was an opportune time for me to visit.

 

We started out our afternoon by hanging around talking and getting a quick bite to eat. We managed to find a place to have a light lunch called Silvergreen . I ordered a chopped steak salad and Michelle had an Ahi tuna salad. The restaurant was very cozy, kind of like a café  place where you order at the front and you’re given a number, then when your food is ready, you go and pick it up. My salad was fresh, but nothing mind blowing, just a decent lunch for a budget price, which, in Santa Barbara, all the students are looking for. We were down in the central part of college life: Isla Vista. Thousands of bikes, students and looky loo’s lined the streets cruising to their next meeting, friend’s house or beach activity.

Though the skies were pretty gray, there was plenty happening as we sat out on the patio and watched the activities. After lunch, we took a stroll down to the beach and watched the silver sky dance among the glittering waters. It was beautiful, but pretty cold, so we took a quick peek and then headed back. The beach is about a 15 minute walk from Michelle’s apartment—talk about luxury—no wonder people want to go to school there.

As we were walking, Michelle stopped into  IV Drip for an ice cream cookie sandwich. She chose espresso ice cream and chocolate chip cookies. They were sandwiched with lovely rich espresso filled deliciousness and the cookies were crunchy and full of chocolate. I took a couple bites off hers because I was way to full. The café was simple and had coffee, tea, and ice cream and fresh baked good offerings for good prices. I’d definitely stop in again for coffee and cookies.

We walked back to the apartment and lazed around for a bit before we went pumpkin picking at a Lane Farms Pumpkin Patch and Corn Maze.  I can’t remember the last time I went pumpkin picking at a real pumpkin patch. Growing up in the city doesn’t really make for too many farm picked pumpkins and also doesn’t make for very affordable pumpkins either. But I like the experience of pumpkin patches and I love farms. So we get to this gorgeous pumpkin patch with perfect pumpkins still growing in the soil, and I picked out a nice one for Michelle while she met up with some of her colleagues. We ran through the corn maze and saw the live animals and even for a grownup, it was a perfect evening. We finally left the pumpkin patch with a perfect pumpkin, a delicious little bag of pumpkin spice, pumpkin seed brittle, which tasted like pumpkin spice heave—probably one of the best brittles I’ve ever had. I’m going to have to try my hand at making some sometime soon.

So here I’ll stop for the evening and I’ll pick back up with my adventures in Santa Barbara tomorrow. I hope you all enjoyed your Halloween. Had lots of sweets and fun with family and friends. Here’s my home depot pumpkin that cost me 4.45 instead of 20 dollars it would of been at the pumpkin patch. :)

Me and my sister  are carving pumpkins like we have for our whole lives together, my dad made one too. Here’s a little picture of my beautiful niece, Happy first Halloween Monk Monk!

Lastly I’d like to thanks Nancy from Spiciefoodie.com for hosting this months Your Best Recipe featuring bloggers from around the worlds choice recipe from their blogs for that month. Please check out her monthly round up by clicking the Banner below. Your blog is welcomed to the round up as well check out the information for future months.

link to my featured recipe for saffron rice, corn and goat cheese peppers here and thank you everyone for voting these peppers to foodbuzz Top 9 on 10/30!

Cheers

-Unrivaledkitch

Salted Almond Cookie Experiments and Almond Joy Cookie

You know when you have Chinese food? And they serve you those almond cookies that are really flat kinda shinny on top and have a sliced almond on them? yeah those? Well i had a craving and i thought to myself why the hell not. Bake a little…

I was making these little devils for my cooking class but they turned out to be flat and chewy instead of the drier harder cookies that i was used to because i forgot my recipes at home like an idiot and couldn’t remember the flour ratio and baking you can’t make up in your head no matter how much you really want to…. its gonna taste alrite but looks well 13- 17 year old boys can over look anything and they asked if there were more  :)

I think for the most part sometimes I should stick to my savory cooking. But fuck it why not if you don’t practice you’ll never get better.

Everyone has a bad day so i figured redeemed myself with these little monsters and they came out pretty bitchen. Their not exactly like those cookies that come in a wrapper but i think are a nice alternative to regular chocolate chip or oatmeal cookies.

I’d say they are a bit puffier because i didn’t smash them as much… mine didn’t crack because i didn’t want to cook them too long cause i was scared they were gonna get super dry. These are dry but not dried out. So id say these are kinda like almond sandies/chinese almond cookie hybrid? who knows. I liked the way they tasted. I also would of like to add chopped almonds to the cookie too.

Check out the pictures and see what you think. I also added some other stuff to them too which was mini chocolate chips and coconut cause i wanted an almond joy and i figured i could get a little of that action with this cookie too.

My savory cooking thought process is a mess when it comes to baking. Definitely two different things…

Easy cheap cookie that’s fun for those little extras or something different

Salted Almond Cookies

1 cup butter two sticks, softened
1/2 cup sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 tablespoon almond extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup salted whole almonds or as many as you need to top the cookies
1 egg white
1/2 teaspoon water
1tablespoon of brown sugar

The way

Preheat

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy .

Beat in egg and extract.

Sift the flour, baking soda and salt in the other bowl

then slowly add to creamed butteryness.  till its all mixed up and looks like this the texture is kinda milly but it comes together well it shouldn’t be too wet or crumble

I made 1/2 regular almond cookies and 1/2 almond joy cookies

For the almond joy cookies add about 1/2 cup of coconut flakes to batter and 1/4 cup of mini or regular chocolate chips mixed it together

and cooked em the same way. Crushed some of the almonds on top and put a bit of choc chips

Roll into 1-in. balls. Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Flatten with  palm of hand . Press almond in center or if you’d like coarsely chop almonds and roll press into tops.

then with both the cookies

In a small bowl, beat egg white, brown sugar, and water .


Brush over cookies to make that little shine on those babies

Bake at 325 degrees F for 15-16 minutes or until edges and bottoms are lightly browned.

In oven

Out of oven

Cool and eat


I always like cookies hot

These are no exception to the rule. I mean really why bake cookies if you can’t eat them hot?

Mini glass of chocolate silk soy milk and these I’m a happy camper

anyway there’s my cookie for the week

thanks for taking a peek

cheers

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas Everyone
and happy holidays for anyone else who isn’t celebrating.

I hope every one is sharing these awesome days of happiness with the people you love and the friendships you cherish. I’m so grateful for you all and I hope you have an amazing end of the year and beginning of a new one!

I’ve been a super busy girl lately. Holiday food galore
I just finished cleaning a storm in my kitchen and I’m still cooking its 1.21 in the morning. Ah so worth it.

We had a beautiful Christmas eve dinner held at my brothers condo with his in laws and my family beautiful. I didn’t take pictures but I made stuffing, mashed potatoes, salad, roasted red pepper hummus, fruit salad, and scampi. We also had Prime rib, ham, and Vietnamese spring rolls. Delicious. I threw together most of the things i made in about an hour and a 1/2 cause i was in south gate with my mom sister Bachan to visit my moms mom my grandma Ruth and my great grandma tony who just celebrated her 96th birthday today, saw cousins and aunts and uncles i haven’t seen in a long time. It was awesome. And then we brought over the food to my brothers and all ate so much and sang a little karaoke on wii  Such a wonderful day!

Tomorrow we’ll head to my mom and dads which may be one of the last Christmas mornings there because the family is sadly outgrowing my childhood home but I made it clear nothing was stopping us this year. So i have to be up early and get some stuff together for more family fun for the day.

I made Pozole and Tamales this year about 150 tamales actually and a gigantic amount of Pozole but its almost gone which is great. they both came out amazing and I do have recipes but those will probably be written in about a week but here’s a little preview.

Also I’ve been Baking more…

And tomorrow I’m doing sushi, croquettes,  and wontons

Again Merry Christmas Guys <3

Pozole

I have to say this Pozole is one of the best things I’ve made… and making it takes about 5-6 hours but the end result is something out of this world
Chocolate Peanut butter Marshmallow crunch


Double Dark Chocolate Mint Cookies

Soft Clove Sprinkled Molasses Gingerbread

I think the best thing about cookies is once you have the core ingredients you just bunch together something else you like and you can make another cookie which is also a bad thing because it leads me to having about three million ideas I don’t have all the pictures of everything like i did for the other post… I’m still getting used to photographing everything while I’m cooking… It’ll get better… I hope

Soft Clove Sprinkled Molasses Gingerbread

2 ½ cups of All Purpose flour… Sifted

3 teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon of baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Tiny pinch of nutmeg if you have it

½ teaspoon clove and some extra for sprinkling

½ teaspoon salt

¼ cup margarine

½ cup butter

½ cup white sugar

½ cup brown sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla

1 egg

½ cup molasses

Extra white sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350

Sift all dry ingredients together salt, spices, baking soda, and flour set aside

Handmix, standmix, finger mix however you can

Get the butter/margarine, and sugars in the bowl and mix till fluffed up and incorporated

Add 2 tablespoons of water and the molasses and vanilla then add the one egg mix till incorporated

Slowly mix in flour do not over mix batter just till it comes together pulling off of the sides

Now make quarter sized balls with the dough

Place them on ungreased cookie sheets

Three in a row for rows down

Press fingers on top to flatten cookies and sprinkle sugar and clove

Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes till cookies are lightly golden

Let cool

Enjoy

Coconut white chocolate chip cookie… Here we go

Here’s the deal with my cookies… I try and make them so they aren’t crazy sweet these one though are on the sweet side but not too much I found. They have lots of nice texture from the chocolate chips to the toasted coconut on top.

Coconut white chocolate chip cookie

1 ¼ all purpose flour sifted
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup butter room temp (no really room temp don’t mess with that)
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup white sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cup coconut
1 cup of white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside

About 1/2 coconut put it in a small pan and heat for about 5 minutes on low till some of the moisture is extracted and it has a couple of little brown specs amongst the flakes but it not fully toasted or brown set aside and cool.

Sift flour, salt, baking soda together and set aside

Cream with a hand mixer or in a kitchen aid whatever you got works… I’ve done cookies by hand too so no excuses which is why the butter needs to be room temp it helps. So add the sugars brown and white and butter then whip till fluffy.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl

Add egg and vanilla mix till incorporated

On low speed slowly add flour to wet ingredients
Don’t over mix it up

Then with a spoon mix in the none toasted coconut and the white chocolate chips leaving some aside from topping

Shape cookies into balls of your desired liking. I made mine about the size of in between quarter/ silver dollar

Place so that 3 cookies fit in a row with 4 rows

Place fingers over the top and flatten

Press in some of the dried coconut and one white chocolate chip

Place in the oven and cook for about 9-11 minutes till coconut is lightly colored and cookies are brown around the edge


Let cookies cool

And enjoy

Not A Baker

But I bake on Occasion…

I’d sell a bulldozer of sugar for salt any day of the week…

But of course with the season were in I can’t get myself away from it. I’m tired of dry boring cookies out of the package or even homemade so I wanted to make some that I’d actually enjoy eating not like i really need to be eating cookies but who gives a fuck. I’m gonna post the recipes cause I’ve been writing them myself. But i need to actually sit down and figure them all out so this is the visual entry and we’ll get to the recipe as soon as i can sit down without cookies burning.

I love the science in baking. Manipulating the fat content with sugar and leavening is fascinating to me. I’ve produced some pretty rad cookies.

I hope every ones enjoying the holidays. Its pretty rainy here in So Cal

White Chocolate Chip Coconut Cookies

Peanut butter Butterstochies half dipped  in dark chocolate

Zesty Lemon finger prints with Apricot and Raspberry preserves

Soft Clove Sprinkled Molasses Gingerbread